COP26 and local government

The 26th United Nations Climate Change conference was held in Glasgow, the UK. What did the themes, promises made and outcomes reached mean for local government? Find coverage and resources here.



The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, from 31 October to 12 November 2021, following delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The COP26 summit brought together more than 100 world leaders in a bid to accelerate the action and decision-making needed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement. While some elements of climate change are already visible, inevitable and irreversible, in the words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), limiting global warming could avoid the most serious impacts of climate change, which would pose a sustained risk to human health and survival on Earth.

The four main goals of COP26 are:

  • Securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5 degrees within reach
  • Adapting to protect communities and natural habitats
  • Mobilising finance
  • Working together to deliver action, through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society

The ‘Cities, Regions and Built Environment’ day on 11 November particularly focused on local government issues.

LGIU have produced monthly newsletters in the lead-up to COP26, highlighting key issues for local government at the conference and will also produce a final edition focused on outcomes and actions for local government.

  1. Prioritising adaptation: The journey to COP26 🌍
  2. Cutting emissions from waste ♻ The journey to COP26
  3. COP26 🌍 Shaping a just transition to net zero
  4. COP26 🌍 From national commitments to local action

Sign up to either the Climate action and sustainable development topic or the Global Insight package to ensure you get our final updates on COP26. 

Report: Exploring Economic and Enterprise Opportunities from Climate Action

This report by LGIU for the Eastern and Midlands Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) in Ireland utilises international case study work to explore the economic opportunities of climate action at a local level across the global stage,  drawing out practical lessons for local adaptation and mitigation efforts. Click here to download a free copy.

Event: Post-COP26 briefing

We partnered with the Heseltine Institute to consider the key outcomes from the COP26 conference with a specific focus on what they mean for local authorities and how they can be practically achieved and delivered. See our write up of the event or watch a recording.

Online Training: An introduction to tackling the climate emergency for local government

This 2 December workshop provides an introduction for both elected members and officers involved in developing responses to the climate emergency and an opportunity to share ideas and best practice. Click here to find out more and register for this event.

Climate Finance and Urban Futures at COP26

The Heseltine Institute’s latest policy brief, ‘Climate Finance and Urban Futures at COP26’, is from Heseltine Institute Research Associate Dr Sawyer Phinney, who attended the conference in Glasgow. In this briefing, they reflect on debates about how to fund climate mitigation and adaptation policies.

Net Zero Strategy: build back better, fairer and greener

The UK Government recently released two much-anticipated strategies: the ‘Net Zero Strategy’ and the ‘Heat and Buildings Strategy’. These documents contain a wealth of information that explores the trajectories to be expected from Westminster when it comes to future climate action. This member-only briefing examines what these strategies mean for local governments.

Your ideas and breakthroughs!

What’s worked in your local area? Have you had breakthroughs with engaging the public, de-risking adaptation finance, de-carbonising transport or housing or other work on sustainability? We’d love to hear from you! Share your successes or suggestions here. 

More climate change content from LGIU

We’re committed to working with you to share insight, intelligence and inspiration to help local government work tackle climate change with their residents.

Climate action and sustainable development

From briefings on key issues to original research, training and stories from our members, see all the LGIU has to offer.

Bundle: Tackling waste and the circular economy

This bundle, released as part of our COP26 focus, explores waste issues relevant to local government, including waste management, recycling, and areas for potential innovation – including the opportunities the circular economy concept might provide. View the content included in this bundle here.

Bundle: Shaping a Just and Fair Transition

A just transition to net zero ensures environmental sustainability as well as decent work, social inclusion and poverty eradication. To end up with a just outcome, it’s also important to have a just process – making engagement and inclusivity in decision-making key. View the content included in this bundle here.